NDSU Extension Service - Dickey County



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Assistance Available for Above-Normal Livestock Losses

Breana Kiser, Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent

Livestock LossesThe Livestock Indemnity Program provides payments for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality.

Some North Dakota livestock producers have lost cattle in blizzards this winter and spring, and others are concerned about losing calves as winter weather continues into the 2018 calving season.

The 2014 farm bill provides payments to eligible producers for death losses through the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), according to Karl Hoppe, the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s livestock systems specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center.

The LIP will provide assistance for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality that are a direct result of eligible loss conditions, including adverse weather, diseases or attacks by animals such as wolves. Payments are equal to 75 percent of the market value of the livestock the day before they died.

The LIP applies to the loss of cattle, poultry, swine, sheep, horses, goats, alpacas, deer, elk, emus, llamas and reindeer.
Producers need to keep meticulous records of their operation and livestock losses to apply for LIP assistance, says Andrew Zink, executive director of the Stutsman County Farm Service Agency. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers the program.

Records that producers need include:

    Exact date of each animal’s death
    Exact weather event that caused the animal’s death, including conditions and the starting and ending dates of those conditions
    Legal description of where the death occurred
    Inventory records for the animal, such as calving/lambing books, record of sales and purchases, and veterinary records
    Photos documenting the death - photos need to be taken as soon after the death as possible and have the camera’s date stamp on them, and should include a shot of the animal’s ear tag if possible

Producers must document all livestock deaths, which means deaths due to normal mortality as well as those resulting from adverse weather, Zink says.

Also, producers must file a notice of loss with the FSA within 30 days of when the loss is apparent. They must file an application for payment no later than 90 days after the end of the calendar year in which the eligible loss occurred.
Hoppe notes that the normal mortality rates for cattle in North Dakota are:

    Calves weighing less than 400 pounds - 4.6 percent
    Calves weighing 400 to 799 pounds - 1.5 percent
    Calves weighing 800 pounds or more - 1 percent
    Adult cows - 1.6 percent
    Adult bulls - 2 percent

Visit https://tinyurl.com/FSA-LIPfactsheet for more information about the LIP.

To assist producers during and immediately after calving, the National Weather Service has the Cold Advisory for Newborn Livestock (CANL) system. CANL issues advisories on weather conditions that are dangerous to newborn livestock. Those conditions include wind chill, rain or wet snow, and high humidity.

For CANL information in the western part of North Dakota,
visit https://www.weather.gov/bis/canl. For eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota,
visit https://www.weather.gov/fgf/canl.

Source: NDSU Agriculture Communication - April 9, 2018

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Springtime Pruning

Breana Kiser, Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent

There is still time to get the pruning done, as soon as you can walk across the yard easily. Pruning is important to produce strong, healthy, and aesthetically attractive plants. Pruning is important for the health of the tree because it opens up the canopy which allows more light and air to flow through the leaves.

It is best to prune your tree while it’s dormant, so before buds swell. The best time is during winter but with the cold and snow it can make it difficult to prune. March is normally the best time to prune but our March made this difficult. April will start to warm up so once you can walk across your yard but you still have time to cut before buds start to develop. Don’t cut tree branches that are so high that you have to climb to cut them, be safe and stay on the ground.

Some of benefits of pruning are it reduces the change of fungal problems by allowing more air move in the leaves. It will reduce the tree’s crop load, making your tree more likely to bear fruit every year while allowing the fruit to be larger and ripen faster. This allows the tree to have more time to prepare for the coming winter when the fruit it picked early. When pruning your shrubs you can manage the height and shape of the shrub.

Use a sharp, quality hand pruner, lopper or pruning saw. Remove branches that point downward, inward or straight up, cross over/through the tree, or will shade the branch below. Clean out small twigs near the center of the tree. For both trees and shrubs, keep the branches that are growing outward and upward which also look healthy. When making your cuts be sure to make cuts at the branch collars. Don’t leave stubs which will rot and can cause disease.

Branch Collar

 Example of where the branch collar is located.

Most shrubs grow new shoots right from the area they are planted. This is called “expanding the crown”. It can get pretty thick with old, weak, and death branches all growing together. Remove branches that grown downward or cross through the shrub. Cut out the small, weak branches that crowd the good branches. Don’t be afraid, shrubs and trees are forgiving and you can always fix mistakes the following year.   

With shrubs you have different types of pruning. Like renewal pruning, which is best for most flowering and fruit shrubs. Remove 1/4 to 1/3 or old growth each year.  Pictured below.

Remove Dark Limbs 

Heading cuts will lower a branch back to a lateral bud or shoot which is less vigorous than a vertical shoot. This is the best way to manage the height of a shrub.

Heading Back 

Thinning cuts are to open the plant up to light and air. Make proper cuts, without leaving stubs, just above a bud or side branch so the growth is ‘upward and outward’.

Lower Com 

If you are interested in learning how to prune but you don’t want to experiment on your own trees or shrubs. Join us at the Ellendale Buzz Garden on April 26th at 5pm and Oakes Community Orchard by the Oakes Hospital on April 27th at 5pm for a hands on experience. Tools will be provided. Any questions contact the Extension Office at (701)349-3249.

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Diabetic Friendly Easter

Aimee Ellinger, 4H/Youth Development and FCW Agent

coconut cream pieEaster is fast approaching and personally for me, all I can think about is the delicious food I get to devour this Easter Sunday.  Easter is a time for family gatherings and family food favorites. Those special recipes that are saved for special events are broken out and has everyone looking forward to their favorite dish.  Personally for me, my Easter dinner memories include my Aunt Sue’s coconut cream pie and my grandmas honey glazed ham.  All I can say is Yumm! Another Easter memory for me includes healthy desert options that where on the low sugar side as well.  My family had a few members that suffered from type 2 diabetes. It was important to watch what kind of sweets we offered at our family dinner table.  In a growing trend in most families this is beginning to become a new normal. In Dickey County alone 11.2% adults 20 and older diagnosed with diabetes.  In North Dakota 49 thousand adults have diabetes. That’s 1 in every 11 adults. Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2010 based on the 69,071 death certificates in which diabetes was listed as the underlying cause of death. According to the American Diabetes Association, some of the factors that may indicate you have diabetes include: having pre-diabetes; being age 45 or older; having a family history of diabetes; being overweight; not exercising regularly; having high blood pressure; having low HDL, also known as “good” cholesterol and/or high levels of triglycerides. Certain racial and ethnic groups (non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Alaska Natives). Women who had gestational diabetes, or who gave birth to a baby weighing nine pounds or more at birth.

The good news is there are some ways you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes
     -Losing weight
     -Eating healthy
     -Being more active

This Easter I will not be able to make it home to Michigan, but I will be spending it with another great family. It just so happens they have some family members who are diabetic as well. While thinking about what I was going to bring I found this recipe below. I will still be able to get my coconut pie fix and bring something that the whole family can enjoy. Check out this yummy diabetic friendly coconut pie recipe! Happy Easter and I wish everyone safe travels this holiday weekend.

Diabetic Friendly Coconut Cream Pie
    3 eggs
    Baked Pastry Shell
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
    1 12 - ounce can evaporated fat-free milk
    3 tablespoons flaked coconut
    1 teaspoon coconut extract
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/3 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons flaked coconut
Separate egg yolks from whites; place egg yolks in a medium bowl and egg whites in another medium bowl. Let egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes for meringue. Meanwhile, prepare Baked Pastry Shell; set aside. Reduce oven to 350 degrees F.

For filling, in a heavy, medium saucepan, stir together the 1/4 cup sugar and the cornstarch. Gradually stir in milk and evaporated milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Beat egg yolks with a fork. Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks. Return all of the egg yolk mixture to saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in the 3 tablespoons coconut and the coconut extract. Keep warm while preparing the meringue.

For meringue, add vanilla and cream of tartar to egg whites in bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed about 30 seconds or until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed about 2 minutes more or until mixture forms stiff glossy peaks (tips stand straight).

Pour hot filling into Baked Pastry Shell. Immediately spread meringue over filling, carefully sealing to edge of pastry to prevent shrinkage. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons coconut. Bake in the 350 degrees F oven for 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Chill for at least 3 hours or up to 6 hours before serving. Makes 10 slices.


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Starting Seeds Indoors

Breana Kiser, Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent

Starting Seeds IndoorsThe other day my sister asked me “What does she need to start seed inside?” With all the snow and the temperatures slowly rising, I thought that it was a great idea to start thinking green and getting ready for warm, spring weather.
So to help out all of those gardeners who will be trying to have their first garden this summer and even to help some experienced gardeners, here is some helpful tips.

The benefits of home-started seedlings are having a much greater variety of vegetables, flowers, and herbs to choose from than if you just go down to the local garden center to pick up six-packs of nursery-raised starts. Growing your own seeds will allow you to choose varieties to bloom earlier and harvest earlier along with getting a fuller crop stand.  Starting your own seeds allows you to give your starts special personal care, and time your plantings so the seedlings will be ready to go into the ground at just the right time for your area.

Where to start? When figuring when to start your seedlings you have to consider your timing. The timing of when you start planting your seedlings to raise is an important question. Gardeners time their plantings relative to the average date of the last spring front in their area, for this year those dates are; Ellendale is May 5 and Oakes is May 9. Depending of the plant you are growing the sowing date is a number of weeks before the last frost date. Tables of the time can be found online or in the NDSU Extension Publication How to Succeed at Seed Starting.

Once you know when to start, the next step is what is needed for seeds to grow. First step is to make sure you have an appropriate growing medium for your plants. Inappropriate mixes can get rock hard after a few waterings. Your mix has to stay light and friable. Don’t use plain garden soil! Some types of seed starter mix include peat moss, compost, and perlite are the optimal selection but potting soil is acceptable as well. Your planting mixture can be put in cutoff milk cartons, deep-sided disposable aluminum pans, or special seed-starting systems. They should be at least 3 inches deep for roots to grow and have small holes for drainage. Many gardeners prefer to make traditional wooden flats (14” by 12” by 6” is a good size). Leave about 1/8-inch gap between the bottom boards so extra water can drain out, and then cover this base with newspapers or a thin layer of leaves to keep the soil from draining out.  

Generally, seeds germinate better is their soil temperature is constantly 70°F or above. Keep the seed trays in a constantly warm place. Look for any warm spot you can find. Do not put seed starting trays in a windowsill; it is almost always much too cool for good germination, particularly at night and the morning. Maintaining consistently warm temperatures, both day and night, signals the seeds to begin growing. Probably no other factor will speed up germination time more than a constant warm temperature. As insurance, you may want to go to the extra step of buying a bottom-heating seed propagation mat.
Seeds also need to be kept constantly moist in order to germinate. Never let the germination media dry out. Therefore, the mix should be kept moist, but not too wet; the consistency of a wrung-out sponge is about the right and a good standard to use. Moisten media thoroughly before sowing, mix it well to distribute moisture evenly, and be sure it doesn’t dry out afterwards. One easy aid is to drape a sheet of plastic wrap on top of newly planted seeds to keep moisture in. Be sure to check every single day to see if any seeds are starting to sprout. If they are, immediately remove the cover so they can get some light and air circulation. Water as often as needed from above, but don’t just pour water on unrooted seeds or they will wash right out of the soil mix. Use a plastic spray bottle or a watering can with a very fine, upward-pointing hose so the drops will fall very lightly on the soil. If the seedling tray has a plastic cover that is available, lift it up to water, then lay it down again. Check often. The water should be at least room temperature. It is advisable to allow any chlorinated water to stand for a day to allow the chlorine to dissipate.

Most seeds don’t need light to germinate, just warmth, moisture, and darkness. After the seedling appears above the soil, then light is necessary.

Fertilization is not necessary for seeds either, since they carry their own food and have enough food energy to germinate on their own. Young seedlings however will need a weak fertilizer to grow successfully.

Now how do you actually grow your own seeds? Fill containers almost to their brims with moistened soil. Smooth it out and tamp it down. Then begin carefully setting the seeds in, planting them shallow. Seed packets inform how deep to sow seed – be sure to read them carefully.

To keep better track of planting areas, set all the seeds on the surface of the flat and then sift extra soil mix on top to cover them. With tiny flower seeds like petunia and begonia, simply press them into the surface and then cover with a sheet of clear plastic wrap. If individual containers are being used, put only a couple of seeds (the extras are for insurance) into each container. With flats, space seeds a half-inch apart if the intention is to transplant them to a second grow-out flat later, or 1 to 2 inches apart if they are going to be kept in the same flat until garden time. It is always best to plant more seeds than what is needed. They may not all germinate, and it is best to have many seedlings so only the healthiest are chosen. Thin out the smallest and weakest ones later.

If more than one type are planted in a tray or flat, choose ones that have about the same germination time and transplant date. Again – read the packet backs for this information. Don’t forget to label each variety as the seeds are sown. It is now time to set the trays in that warm spot and to make absolutely sure they are evenly and consistently moist.
Check them every single day. The minute some pale seed heads start to pop out of the soil, rejoice! The miraculous cycle of growth has begun.

If you would like the publication How to Succeed at Seed Starting, contact the office to get a copy or for questions call to visit with me. Happy planting!      

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Dickey County Hippology

Aimee Ellinger, 4-H/Youth Development and FCW Agent

HippologyHippology is a contest that enhances learning for 4-H members by letting them exhibit their knowledge and understanding of equine science and husbandry in a competitive setting. The term "Hippology" comes from the Greek "hippo", meaning horse, and "ology", meaning "the study of".

Participants in the hippology demonstrate their experience and knowledge gained in horse judging, quiz bowl, speeches, and practical horse management. Phases of the contest include a written exam, judging, ID stations including feedstuffs, and team problems. Hippology is a great opportunity for all youth to learn about horses. There is no requirement to show horses or own a horse, all youth are welcomed.  

The Dickey County Hippology 4-H team has had a great season so far! The team consists of 8 4-H members spanning across Dickey and LaMoure Counties. The team has participated in three contest so far this season and have brought home some impressive hardware. The team placed 3rd at the Stutsman quiz bowl competition with Maddi Anliker placing 3rd as high individual. They competed in 7 rounds out of 9. The team competed at the Southeast Judging Classic in Lisbon where the team placed 3rd as intermediates. Recently the team competed at the Forman contest on March 3rd, the junior team placed 2nd in hippology and quiz bowl. In the junior quiz bowl individual, Shelby Miller placed 2nd, Elli Lloyd placed 3rd, Kaia Heimbuch placed 4th, and McKenzie Haag tied for 5th.  The intermediate team placed 4th in Hippology contest.

The team has a few more contest left this season including the State Hippology contest in Fargo on April 7th. The team will compete in hippology, judging, quiz bowl and demonstrations at the state contest. Dickey County will also host a hippology contest and quiz bowl contest on March 24th in Oakes. This is the first year for the quiz bowl contest at Oakes and the event will be ran by Dickey County 4-H.

The team will be hosting a fundraiser dinner on March 25th from 12:30-2:00 at the America Legion in Ellendale to help raise funds for the Oakes Hippology and quiz bowl contest and to help with travel to state. The dinner will consist of pork roast, scalloped potatoes, corn, buns and bars. Free-will donations are accepted for the meal. Mark your calendars for March 25TH and come out for dinner with the members of the Dickey County Horse Hippology Team.

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Produce Safety Training

Breana Kiser, Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent


Farmers Market ProduceIf you are a fruit or vegetable grower who sell their producer from either home or at a farmer’s market have an opportunity to learn more about produce safety this spring. Postharvest handling and sanitation, and worker health, hygiene, and training are among the topics that will be covered.

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is transforming the nation’s food safety system by shifting the focus from responding to foodborne illness to preventing it. Congress enacted FSMA in response to dramatic changes in the global food system and in our understanding foodborne illness and its consequences, including the realization that preventable foodborne illness is both a significant public health problem and a threat to the economic well-being of the food system.

The FDA has finalized seven major rules to implement FSMA, recognizing the ensuring the safety of the food supply is a shared responsibility among many different points in the global supply chain for both human and animal food. The FSMA rules are designed to make clear specific actions that must be taken at each of these points to prevent contamination.

The North Dakota State University Extension Service is providing the Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course in cooperation with ND Farmers Union on April 5th at the ND Farmers Union in Jamestown from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Providing safe food requires a field-to-fork approach,” says Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension food and nutrition specialist. “We are pleased to have partnerships in providing this training for growers and educators. Connie Landis Fisk from Cornell University will lead the training. Holly Mawby from Dakota College at Bottineau and I will assist with the workshop.”


Participants will learn about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) produce safety rules, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Good Agricultural Practices audits, co-management of natural resources and food safety. This training is required for all producers who are not exempt from the FSMA regulations.

Trainers will cover seven areas:

  • Introduction to produce safety
  • Worker health, hygiene and training
  • Soil amendments
  • Wildlife, domestic animals and land use
  • Agricultural water
  • Postharvest handling and sanitation
  • How to develop a farm food safety plan

“I see this training as an excellent opportunity to not only get the training necessary under FSMA but also a chance to share their experiences with other growers,” says Jason McKenney, cooperative specialist with the North Dakota Farmers Union. “Even if a producer does not require training under the current regulations, I see this training as an opportunity for growers to add value to what they grow.”

The training is an outcome of the North Central Region Center for FSMA Training, Extension and Technical Assistance.

The cost of the training is $25. Register online at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork.

For more information, contact Garden-Robinson at 701-231-7187 or julie.garden-robinson@ndsu.edu.




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Attention Farm and Ranch Women

Aimee Ellinger, 4H/Youth Development and FCW Agent


     Calling all Farm Women! Do you want to gain a better understanding of crop and livestock marketing, cash flow projections/statements, FSA, NRCS, SCD programs, succession planning, farm families and crop insurance, land rents, business plans and farm financial documentation? With the Annie’s Project program you can get all these questions answered and so much more!  Join the women of Dickey County’s NDSU Extension office for a six-week workshop. There's plenty of time for questions, sharing, reacting and connecting with your presenters and fellow participants. The program is a fun way to learn, grow and meet other farm/ranch women.  We want farm women with a passion for business and involvement to join us!
     Annie’s Project is an educational workshop dedicated to helping women strengthen their roles in modern farm and ranch enterprises. The program was launched by University of Illinois Extension Educator, Ruth Hambleton in 2003.  Annie’s Project is a tribute to Ruth’s mother, Annette Kohlhagen Fleck.  Annette spent her lifetime learning how to be an involved business partner with her farm husband. She did this by being an involved business partner in networks and by managing and organizing critical information. Annie’s Project is dedicated to taking Annette’s experiences and sharing them with women living on farms and ranches.
     The six educational sessions of the course include topics from the five risk areas. Financial Risk, Human Resource Risk, Legal Risk, Market Risk and Production Risk. The material is tailored to fit the needs of the county in which the program is being hosted. Dickey County hosted an Annie’s Project in 2003.  Annie’s alumnus and Fullerton resident Wanda Sheppard was a member of the 2003 class. “Annie’s Project helped me to better understand the workings of the farm in current times.  Having grown up on the farm, it helped me to see how things had changed.”
     Dickey County’s Annie’s Project will be held at the Oakes City Hall. The workshop will consist of six, three-hour long sessions. The dates are set for April 3rd, 10th, 18th, 24th and May 1st, 8th from 5:30-9:00 pm each night.  The program fee is $125 that covers the cost of materials, quick book program and meals for each night. Registration required by March 21. Please contact the Extension office is you have questions or would like to register. Call at 701-349-3249 ext. 2 or e-mail aimee.ellinger@ndsu.edu  or breana.s.kiser.3@ndsu.edu .
     For more information on the Annie’s Project visit https://www.anniesproject.org/ .

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How to Figure Flexible Crop Rental Rates

Breana Kiser, Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent

Flexible Crop Rent ImageWhen trying to decide on a rental rate for crop land there are 5 factors to consider before deciding on the rate.  The most important piece before starting this process is communication between the landowner and renter.  Each piece should be discussed among the parties before coming to an agreement.  With the world we live in today, it is common for land owners not to live near the land they are renting therefore they are not aware of the situations that may occur.  Communication is the key when you start this process.  Now looking at factors to consider within this discussion.

Step 1: Productivity

Not all soil is created equal.  Productivity of the land is an important factor when looking at land for a cropping system and needs to be considered when deciding on the rental rate.  When looking at the soil profile of a field, a good practice is know the soil type (sand, loamy, or clay) and knowing the productivity index.  There is a couple of ways to figure what your soil profile is.  You can visit me at the Extension Office and I will be glad to help you gather this information.  Your Soil Conservation District can find the same information or you can find it yourself on the Web Soil Survey site.  

Once knowing your productivity, you will see what the average productivity value is of the land.  From there you can assess whether the land has a low, average, or high productivity index.  Now productivity index is not the whole story but merely a piece. 

Step 2: Rent & Values

Every year the rental surveys are distributed and are cataloged to find the values for each year.  These new values are published around the beginning of April. The Extension office has the publication for you as hand-outs, you can call and get the values, or you can find the pdf on the ND Trusts Lands or on the NDSU Extension.  The 2017 non-irrigation crop land rate values are at a minimum rate of $70/acre, maximum rate $175/acre, most frequent rate $125/acre, and average rental rate is $116.40. 

Step 3: Projected Crop Budget Margins

Each year NDSU Extension sends out a publication with the projected crop budgets for that year.  This is a helpful tool for farmers to use to estimate margins for the future year.  This publication can also be used to consider the rental rate value depending on what the margins are.  Within the publication, the line item titled return to labor and management, is an estimation of the return from crops produced within a production year per acre.  A note to remember is that cost of living which is $30-$50 per acre is not considered with the estimations of the return in the publication.  Before increasing or decreasing a rental rate, for a fair value both parties can look at the margins to predict what the year may have in store for farmers.

Step 4: What’s most important?

The land owner and renter should have a discussion to listen to each other’s values that would guide their decision process.  There should be discussion about the history of the land and how it has been used over time.  Landowners want to have top dollar for their land but renters want a reasonable value so they can make a profit.

 There are a few questions that need to be answered within the discussion of the value.  If crop markets are low, should the renter have a break in rental value?  If the renter takes care of the farm site as well as the land, should the value be lower?  Should the value reflect if the renter is top, average, or poor manager of the land?  There should be trust when discussion the deal of renting land, the landowner wants to trust the renter by knowing that the check is ‘good’ and that the renter is caring for their land in a sustainable way. 

Step 5: Experience of the Landlord

The last factor that is the experience of the landlord which will help decide on how to handle farmland.  Experience level can help determine the best way to manage land rent.  A landowner with no experience with farming terminology and inherited the land should consider putting the land in a trust which is a useful and flexible tool for estate planning.  A trust requires four basic elements-trustee, trust property, trust document, and known or discernible beneficiaries.  The trust specifies the rules of operation for the trust, the powers of the trustee, the beneficiaries to share in the income and principal from the trust, and instruction for distribution of the trust property.  A trust for a trustee with no knowledge of farming will contain the instructions regarding management of the trust assets which will help in deciding rent values even by stating what those values should be. 

A landowner with limited experience but do understand farm terminology and have farm experience growing up may consider the previous factors and negotiate a cash rent value with renter.  A landowner who is experienced and may have just recently relieve the management duties can figure rent values with a share or with flexing rent on price and yields.  Any party can use flexing rent and the formula is designed to consider changing crop prices and yields to determine a rent price but changes each year with the production.

Flexing rent on prices formula and yield changes is:   

Current Yield           Current Price
Base Rent X ___________________ X ___________________ = Rent Paid
Base Yield              Base Price

For example, a landowner and renter can negotiate what the base rent price for a field that will be planted with soybeans.  The base rent value can be determined with current cash rent, county average rent value, farm business management records, or a mutually agreed upon method. The rate decided on was $120/acre which is a little less than the most frequently used value in Dickey County.

Next is determining the base yield and base price.  The base yield can be decided using individual farm records, FSA proven yields, FCI yields, county yield data, farm business management records, or a mutually agreed upon method.  The yield decided on was based on county yield data from NASS at 46 bu/acre.  The base price can be determined from where and how the grain is normally marketed, Sept/Dec futures minus local basis, new crop contract bids in early spring, or other mutually agreed upon methods.  The base price was determined by an estimate looking at the prices from the previous harvest season which was $10/ bu. 

Then the current yield and current price need to be determined.  Current yield can be determined by using yield monitors, bin measurements, or elevator receipts/ scale tickets.  The value was determined 40 bu/acre from previous yields. Final price can be determined using the contracted price, futures minus basis at a given location, harvest price on a certain date, or average local price during growing season.  The value decided was determined from the NDSU Extension projected 2018 crop budgets and rounded by to $9/bu. 

With all the values decided the flexing rent value agreed on was $97.82/acre for the rent value. For success using flexing rent value, the base rent, yields, and prices must be determined up front.  Yield and price information need to be identified for each crop grown.

Keys to successful partnerships between renter and landowner are rental agreements must have all details clearly stated in the contracts.  Contracts should be reviewed annual.  The final piece is that there must be good relations between the parties so the rent value is fair and everyone is happy.  Any questions or help finding the values or factors for your land rent please contact the NDSU Extension office. 



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National Heart Awareness Month

Aimee Ellinger, 4-H/ Youth Development and FCS Agent

healthy heartFebruary is filled with flowers, chocolate and red cut out hearts. Most of us rush to pick out the perfect gift for our Valentine and make cookies and cards in heart shaped designs. But there is another heart that we need to be focusing on this month, February National Heart Awareness Month Have you thought about your own heart lately? On average, your heart beats about 100,000 times per day, pumping nutrients and oxygen throughout your body.  We often take this hard-working group of muscles for granted. One of the leading diseases in men and women in the United States is heart disease. About 700,000 people die every year from heart disease, 51% of that being women. One of the ways to manage your risk is to recognize the factors that can trigger heart disease, some of the risk factors include age, family history, smoking, food choices, level of physical activity, diabetes and high blood pressure. There are many ways that you can improve your health and help to combat heart disease. Eating the right kind of food is one way you can stay on track. Look for foods that are rich fiber such as barley, oatmeal, legumes. Also try consuming a variety of fruit and vegetables, it is recommended that adults consume 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit daily. Eating more whole grains, fish, soy products and olive, canola and peanut oils.  Incorporating at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such walking, on five or more days of the week can also help to lower your risk of heart disease.  For more information about food and nutrition, visit: www.ndsu.edu/eatsmart ; Web-based Resources with Heart Health Information; American Heart Association: www.americanheart.org .


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Think Spring! Understanding Seed Catalogs

Breana Kiser, Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent

Seed CatalogsMother Nature has been giving us a treat this winter with these warm days of 40° weather.  Makes us think that spring and for gardeners there is another sign that spring is close, SEED CATALOGS.  I have received mine already!
First, don’t just dive into the catalogs and start ordering.  Instead, take a walk around your gardens.  This is easy at the moment with almost no snow and warmer days.  Go outside and look at your annual beds, your vegetable garden, and place where you want to put containers or hanging baskets.  Make notes on how much room you have and what kinds of things that will work well in each location.  Consider where you have sun and shade.  

Once done go and start a garden diary.  If you don’t have a garden diary, it’s a great idea to keep track of what you have done year to year.  When we get a freezing cold temperatures back, your garden diary is a nice way to start planning and thinking of warmer time.  If you don’t have a diary, start by collecting your year old order forms and half empty seed packets and make a list of what worked or didn’t work, which varieties you want to plant again, and which ones you will never use again. Make a list of things you want to try for the first time.  It’s your garden, have fund and experiment each year with something new!

Now we get to check out those catalogs. The colorful covers entice gardeners to buy glorious blooms and ripe vegetables.  Gardening expectations are skewed by the pretty photos.  A good motto to think about is “don’t judge a plant by its photo.”  The photos are from when the plants are at their best stage, gardeners need to tolerate the ugly phase before enjoying the beauty of nature.  

Be sure to look for the catalogs that not only have beautiful pictures but give you lots of information.  A great catalog will tell you all of the important things you need to know, but you may have to look for the up the variety in several catalogs to find out everything.   Learn how to interpret garden jargon.  For those experienced gardeners this could be easy for you but for hobbyist or beginners it can be overwhelming trying to understand and figure out what to order.  

Open Pollinated (OP) or Species: This is the variety that will come true from seed.  If you want to save seed from your plants from year to year, look for these.

Hybrid, F1 Hybrid, or X in the name: This is a cross between two pure-bred parents.  Seeds from these will not come true the second year.  Note that all hybrid seeds are F1, or first generation hybrids. Some plants may be F2 or second generation.  These can only be propagated vegetatively.

Height: How tall the plant will be. This is important for planning beds. You want short plants in front, tall ones in back.
Days to bloom or bloom season: How long it will take a plant to flower or what month you can expect flowers. Note that this is based on the seed company test gardens. You may get different results, if you live in a different climate. Still, this allows you to compare different varieties.

Days to harvest: This is the same thing for food crops, and bears the same warning. For plants that are started indoors, this is the number of days from when the plants are set out into the garden. Our last frost date is normally around Memorial Day, consider this when looking at days.   

Planting Zones: Perennials need to be hardy enough to survive winter in the USDA Zone 3 or 4.  
Disease Resistance: The term "disease resistant" is relatively meaningless if they don't tell you what disease they mean. Look for specifics, like VFN for tomatoes, which means resistant to verticillium and fusarium wilts and nematodes. Good catalogs will explain their disease abbreviations.

Start Indoors: These are seeds that need to be started under lights, or in a greenhouse before the last frost date. Think about how much seed starting space you have before buying lots of these.

Direct Sow: These are seeds that can go straight into the ground. Check for the recommended planting date.

Determinate/Indeterminate: Describe tomato plants. Determinate plants grow to a certain size, fruit all at once, and stop growing. Indeterminate plants are more vining and continue to grow and fruit until frost.

Number of Seeds: How many seeds are you getting? Some catalogs will even tell you how much area or how many feet of row a packet will plant.

Light Requirements: Does the plant need sun? Will it tolerate part shade, or does it need shade?

Special Cultural Requirements: Some varieties need high or low soil pH. Some prefer dry soils, some like it damp. Some tall plants are fine on their own, others need staking. Decide if you can handle these special requests before ordering.
Scientific Name: This is really important for flowers and herbs. With all those cutesy names out there, it's sometimes hard to tell what the plant actually is. Good catalogs give the scientific name, which will help if you want to look the plant up in a reference book or on the web.

Finally watch out for shipping charges.  Sometimes it works out to consolidate your orders with a few others or even better a joint order with your friends.  

So enjoy those catalogs, have fun, plan the garden and imagine the best of the best.  Before too long it will be time to go outside and get your hands dirty.  Happy planning!

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